The City of No Limits (En La Ciudad Sin Limites)

on November 26, 2003 by Tim Cogshell
A sophisticated upper-class Spanish family--heirs to a pharmaceutical fortune--gathers at the side of patriarch Max (Fernando Fernan Gomez) in a Paris hospital. Max is old, and likely dying. When the youngest son, Victor (Leonardo Sbaraglia), arrives with his new girlfriend in tow, he notices some odd behavior in the family he deliberately separated himself from some years ago. His brother Luis (Roberto Alvarez) has taken up with the nanny, leaving his estranged wife to wonder what her share of the family fortune will be; meanwhile, brother Alberto (Alex Casanovas) is busy trying to sell the company under the controlling influence of mother Marie (Geraldine Chaplin). Victor himself struggles to reconcile a relationship he once had with Alberto's wife--a relationship his girlfriend senses. But the most intriguing story is locked inside the delusional Max. Max thinks that powers, including those in his own family, are plotting against him. He believes that the city is endless and that he must stop someone named Rancel from getting on the train. The ranting of an old man? Perhaps, but Victor decides to give his dad's assertions and pleas weight, and goes on a quest to unravel a mystery that may only exist in Max's mind. What he finds is that the family secrets go back much further than just his own generation.

Leonardo Sbaraglia is handsome and charming to the point of being disarming; it's a quality that makes even the most mundane of expository scenes captivating. Director Antonio Hernandez sets an interesting tone, using the backdrop of Paris and the intermingling of several nationalities to add a sustentative style to the film--it's moody, but not stark. The film itself drifts between family melodrama and terse mystery, and it pays off well. It's not earth-shattering, but it is revealing, and satisfying. Starring Leonardo Sbaraglia, Fernando Fernan Gomez and Geraldine Chaplin. Directed by Antonio Hernandez. Written by Enrique Braso and Antonio Hernandez. Produced by Jose Nolla and Antonio Saura. A Venevision release. Drama/Mystery. Spanish-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 127 min

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